Name: James "Jimmy" Marks
Former Aliases: None
Identity: Existence unknown to most people
Occupation: Would-be conqueror (formerly student)
Known Relatives: Jacob Marks (Dire Wraith father), Marjorie Seaton Marks (human mother)
Legal Status: U.S. citizen (officially deceased?)
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Mobile (formerly Clairton, West Virginia)
Height: At least 8'
Distinguishing Features: In his natural state, Hybrid is a horrible sight to behold. His gray and pink flesh, which has been described as "gelatinous," covers a body that looks almost skeletal and an enlarged skull. His hands only have four fingers (including an opposable thumb) and his legs end in fleshy masses with no definable foot.
History: In 1940, five years before the main Dire Wraith fleet arrived, a Wraith scout ship crashed on Earth. The pilot survived and eventually created the human identity of "Jacob Marks." He even took a human wife, Marjorie, to further his disguise. The two settled on a farm outside of Clairton, West Virginia. As time went on, he came to love his wife, an emotion unknown to Wraiths. Unwilling to reveal his otherworldly origins to Marjorie, he eventually relented to her wishes and conceived a child. Much to his relief, the child, James (nicknamed Jimmy), appeared human at birth.
Sometime before Jimmy's 15th birthday, the other Wraiths on Earth became aware of his existence. Wondering what this unique hybrid of Wraith and human might be capable of, they approached Jacob and told them they would teach Jimmy the black arts of Wraith sorcery. Despite his newfound humanity, Jacob could not resist his elders and allowed them to teach Jimmy of his true origins. Marjorie protested, but not truly understanding what was going on, there was little she could do without the support of her husband.
The Wraith teachings opened up a whole new world to Jimmy. He began to master his full mental and sorcerous abilities, his mind twisted to evil by the amount of power he commanded. Even his Wraith teachers were somewhat afraid of him. After a while, Jimmy's teachers stopped coming. All of the Dire Wraiths in the Clairton area had either been banished to Limbo by Rom or fled.
Shortly afterwards, Rom learned that a Wraith had sired a son with a human woman and went to investigate. He arrived to discover Jimmy had aged his mother to almost the point of death. He asked Brandy Clark and Steve Jackson, who had followed him, to take her to the hospital while he investigated further. Marjorie died at the hospital of complications from old age.
Jacob willingly revealed himself as a Dire Wraith to Rom. He then told him of the horror his son had become and took him to Jimmy. Jimmy, now calling himself Hybrid, told Rom of his plans to take over Earth and create a race of beings like himself who would rule over both Dire Wraiths and humans. When Hybrid attacked Rom, Jacob attempted to kill his son with a pitchfork, but Hybrid turned it back upon him, slaying his own father (Rom #17).
Meanwhile, Professor X's Cerebro computer detected Hybrid's powers. He dispatched five X-Men (Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Sprite (Kitty Pride)) to investigate. They arrived in the midst of Rom and Hybrid's battle. Hybrid took human form in order to make it appear Rom was attacking a helpless child, so the X-Men would defend him. As the fight continued, the X-Men eventually realized Rom was not their real foe. In the end, Sprite used her phasing abilities to atomize Hybrid with Rom's neutralizer (Rom #18). (Usually no one but Rom may wield his neutralizer.)
Months later, Hybrid managed to reconstitute himself through sheer force of will. The Torpedo happened upon him as he finally reformed, but was quickly beaten and left for dead (Rom #31). The Torpedo was found and taken home to recover. While there he told Rom what had happened. Rom immediately went in search of Hybrid.
Rom found Hybrid near an abandonded plantation home, allied with Mystique, Rogue, and Destiny of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who Rom had recently encountered. The three mutants distracted Rom while Hybrid attacked. As the battle progressed, the three Brotherhood members realized the danger Hybrid posed to both mutants and humans. They turned on him and helped Rom atomize him yet again (Rom #32).
Hybrid managed to restore himself a second time when Rom opened a portal to Limbo a fraction of a second longer than normal. He emerged from a river during a baptism in the form of a young man. The preacher thought it was a miracle sent from God and promised to raise the boy as his own. A few weeks later, Sam Gutherie (a.k.a. Cannonball) was visiting his home in Cumberland, Kentucky with his fellow New Mutants (Magik, Sunspot, Magma, and Wolfsbane) and their mentor, Professor X. It was the same Appalachian town that held the church Hybrid now occupied.
Meanwhile, Rom became aware that Hybrid had returned thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s telepathic agents. He sought Hybrid out and attacked, but was banished to Limbo by his own neutralizer. Hybrid also reversed the Wraith spell on Starshine, who had accompanied Rom, restoring her from Spaceknight to her human form of Brandy Clark. Shortly after, the New Mutants fought Hybrid as well. Magik accidentally jumped into Limbo with Rom to escape Hybrid. She then returned both herself and Rom to fight Hybrid again. In the end, Brandy Clark used Rom's neutralizer on Hybrid, protected somewhat by Professor X's mental powers (Rom Annual #3).
Years later, Hybrid managed to reform himself yet again back near Clairton. This time, however, he was unable to completely reform his psyche and was stuck in his human form and his mind was in a state from before he learned his true nature. His subconscious mind called out to Nate Grey (a.k.a. X-Man), who went in search of the mysterious boy in his dreams. Nate then unwittingly used his powers to restore Hybrid to his true self. In the end, Nate took the small part of Jimmy Marks that was left inside Hybrid's mind and used it to atomize Hybrid yet again (X-Man #31). It is unknown at this time if Hybrid will be able to reform himself a fourth time. His third effort took much longer than before and was not as successful as the previous ones.
Years after his X-Man encounter, a photo of Hybrid appeared on a screen during an Avengers investigation. It implies that Hybrid returned around the time of the events of House of M and lost his powers when the Scarlet Witch depowered the majority of Earth's mutants. Those powers could not apparently be destroyed and all ended up residing in a single individual the Avengers were then facing. Hybrid was just one of the many individuals listed whose powers were (possibly) stolen (New Avengers #18). Further information is needed to ascertain Hybrid's current condition.
Powers: Hybrid inherited his Dire Wraiths father's shape-shifting ability. He can assume the appearance of virtually any person or creature he can imagine. He can further use his mental powers to help with the illusion he is someone else. Hybrid also knows the ways of Dire Wraith sorcery. It is unknown how the destruction of Wraithworld, the source of most Wraith magic, has affected Hybid as he seems to prefer to use his awesome mental powers instead.
Hybrid's mental powers include psi blasts, telepathy, mental illusions, telekinesis, mind control, mental force fields, and the ability to drain others' life forces. The full extent of his powers are not truly known. He has used his telepathy to read conscious thoughts as if they were spoken and cast images into Mystique's mind. His mental illusions made Rom almost believe Hybrid was Brandy Clark, even though Rom knew it was Hybrid. His telekinesis has been used to choke animals, throw several objects as weapons, disassemble a snowmobile, and even create a small blizzard with fallen snow. Hybrid has used his mind control to freeze Rom in place and even make Rom turn his own neutralizer against himself. Hybrid's force fields have shielded him on both a full body and molecular level in the past. Finally, he has drained the life force from his own mother and the preacher who "adopted" him. He also used this ability to nearly kill X-Man.
A unique aspect of Hybrid's mind control is to use or supress a mutant's abilities without his or her knowledge. In his first encounter with the X-Men, Hybrid used Storm's weather control powers to create a blizzard around the combat zone. Storm fought to control the blizzard, not realizing she was actually fighting herself. Hybrid has also caused Colossus and Wolfsbane to unwillingly revert to human form. Perhaps the biggest clue to Hybrid's power level is that he once kept Professor X, one of the most powerful telepaths on Earth, from using his powers.
Hybrid is able to use several of his mental powers at once with seemingly minimal concentration. In his first battle, was able to maintain a blizzard using Storm's power, keep Colossus in human form and cause him to choke, read his combatants' minds, and still use his powers to nearly defeat Rom in hand-to-hand combat. If Hybrid concentrates too much on a single task, however, his control over others slips. Thus while Hybrid concentrated on Rom at the end of his third battle, Brandy Clark was able to free herself from his control and use Rom's neutralizer on him while Professor X regained enough of his telepathic abilities to partially shield Brandy from the neutralizer's self-defense functions. Once taken by surprise, Hybrid has difficulty recovering.
In addition to his mystical and mental powers, Hybrid's form has other innate powers besides shape-shifting. His skin provides excellent protection against attacks and the environment, as evident by his ability to go unclothed in a blizzard. He also posses superhuman strength of an unknown level.
Goals and Motivations: Originally, Hybrid planned to use his powers to help the Dire Wraiths take over Earth. As he continued to learn without Wraith guidance, however, he realized his superiority over both humans and Wraiths, and decided he should force Wraiths and humans to mate and create a new race that would lord over both his parents' races. Upon his first encounter with mutants, Hybrid further modified his plans. He now seeks to mate himself with human mutants to create a powerful new breed of hybrid.
Hybrid's only other goal is the destruction of Rom. He has been repeatedly humiliated in his several defeats by the Galadorian Spaceknight. He may be unaware that Rom has defeated the Wraiths and left Earth. To a lesser extent, Hybrid seeks revenge against the X- Men and the other mutants who have helped defeat him in the past.
(Submitted to the Marvel Chronology Project.)
- Rom #17 - Flashback (origin) (1981)
- Rom #17 - First appearance (1981)
- Rom #18 (1981)
- Rom #30 (1982)
- Rom #31 (1982)
- Rom #32 (1982)
- Rom Annual #3 (1984)
- X-Man #31 (1997)
- New Avengers #18 (2006)
Comic Book Errors
- Rom #17:
- I originally complained here about Marjorie being older than she looked (before Hybrid drained most of her life force). I missed an important detail or two when writing that. The facts are that Jacob Marks crashed on Earth in 1940 and then took a wife "more than a decade after [his] arrival." Jimmy turned 15 the day Rom first encountered him and the doctor said Majorie "can't be more than 38". That makes her 23 or younger when she gave birth. This issue was published in 1981, meaning Marjorie was born c. 1943 (to be 38). Even assuming she was 18 when she married, it had to be at least 20 years after Jacob's arrival. (And of course, Marvel's 10-year floating timeline makes it worse. As of 2011, even if we push Rom's arrival way back to eight years before the present day, they would have married c. 1983, over 40 years after he crashed.)
- To my eyes, Jimmy looked younger than 15.
- X-Man #31:
- Jimmy looked even younger. This can be attributed to his mindset regressing to before he knew of his origins.
- Jimmy was found near Clairton, West Virginia, but he was last defeated underground in Kentucky.
- Hybrid was drawn with two-toed feet, five-fingered hands, and teeth. Chalk it up to artistic license or Hybrid using his shape-shifting abilities to better adapt to his environment.
- Hybrid stated he contacted X-Man because Professor X and Marvel Girl would have recognized his mind. Hybrid has never been shown encountering Marvel Girl.
- New Avengers #18:
- Hybrid's classification as a mutant is debatable. While he did set off Professor X's Cerebro scanner in his first appearance, the readings weren't clear. So is Hybrid a mutant or do his powers simply stem from his unique human-Dire Wraith genetic makeup?
- Stanley Lui and Kenny Hobbs for pointing out the New Avengers appearance.
- Don Campbell for pointing out the error in my analysis of Marjorie Marks' age.